Doctor’s Hate Him: The Secret Trick to Machinery of the Human Heart’s Genius – Part 2


Photo Courtesy of @twisterfang on Instagram

Author: Kate Watanabe

This is the second of my two-part interview with Marvin, the pianist, vocalist, and songwriter behind Machinery of the Human Heart. In this section, we discussed the process of bringing their upcoming album Surgery to life.

K: So, how has the process of recording your first album been?

Marvin: It’s been really amazing, even what my producer described as the boring part was fun. My producer is Spencer Daniele from Human Zoo. I encourage people to check them out because they’re cool and really fun. So Spencer came to me and he was like, “You know, we should record your album” and I was like “You’re right” so we started this long journey in 2020 and we are just wrapping it up now. We thought we had it all wrapped up last September, but I decided to tack on another song or two at the last moment and we got that done yesterday, so the process has been really interesting. 

I got to work with tons of different people. I felt like a fish out of water at first, though, because a lot of my work has felt very solitary. I write alone and it’s a very private process, so it was new for me to work with so many  other people and to really come out of my comfort zone. My favorite part has been putting the bells and whistles on everything. For example, “Jesus on the Telephone” has a really fun “sha na na” part behind the verses. Things like that really make the song special. I’ve enjoyed making the things people might not notice on the first listen, that was my favorite part.

K: Which song are you most excited for people to hear?

Marvin: There’s two that come to mind; the first one is “Walking Out Alone,” which is sort of meant to sound like a funeral march and there are organs in the song that mimic the droning organs you might hear at a funeral. I’m really proud of the vocal work and production on that one, it’s one of the songs that I hold close to my heart. I am also looking forward to people hearing “Arizona Calling” and this other one that we may record called “Little Angel Learns to Love.” It’s a little folk tune about feeling very vulnerable and putting your heart out there for people and not always getting reciprocation and learning to sit with that. 

K: I’m so happy that “Arizona Calling” is on the album! Can’t wait to hear the rest. Is there a particular lyric or part of a song on Surgery that you’re proud of? 

Marvin: I think that my strongest lyrics are in “Little Angel Learns to Love” or “Arizona Calling,” which are two more recent songs. I feel that I’ve really grown as a lyricist. I am really proud of the lyrics in “Your Surgeon is Human Too,” writing it was one of those moments that artists often describe where they’re sitting down and doing something in a flow state and they feel that everything is sort of flashing before their eyes and coming to them through another being in the ether. That’s how I felt writing that song! One of the lyrics I really like in that one is “not just flashbacks to a vivid living hell,” it’s really describing that we are not just our struggles, failures, and the ugly parts of our lives. There’s a balance to how we experience life and emotions and though you may look back at your life through a filter of negativity there are other pieces of joy or relief to be found. 


“There’s a balance to how we experience life and emotions and though you may look back at your life through a filter of negativity there are other pieces of joy or relief to be found.”


K: I really like that! Speaking of that song, I was wondering what made you choose to use medical imagery in the lyrics and to call the album Surgery

Marvin: I wasn’t sure exactly why all these medical themes were coming to me. At first, I thought it was just because I listened to MCR, but then I looked deeper into my past and found that one of the most jarring experiences of my childhood was having surgery. I had eye surgery done when I was about 6 or 7, probably the first year that I started piano lessons actually, for a lazy eye. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life! 

When I was in fourth grade, about 10 or 11, my grandmother had open heart surgery and sometimes I think that’s where “Machinery of the Human Heart” came from within my unconscious. I remember thinking how scary it was while my parents were explaining to me what an open-heart surgery actually was. I was amazed that science had advanced to the point where we could open up a human body and toy with a working human heart. I thought that was crazy.

K: That’s fascinating! Okay, I only have one question left so, if you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would you choose? 

Marvin: That’s a tough one, so there’s a pop artist I really love who introduced me to this theatrical pop piano sound and that’s MIKA, who if you don’t know did the song “Grace Jelly,” and I think I would collaborate with him. His music is really vibrant and amazing. 

K: That’s a good choice, I’d love to hear that! So, how can people follow your work and support you? 

Marvin: There are a lot of ways to keep up with my work, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Another way people can support me is by joining my Patreon, which is a platform where you can support your favorite artists through subscriptions. In turn, you can get a lot of behind-the-scenes content including drawings, because I’m also a visual artist, my zine, and I put out additional recordings for my side project called Gumdrops and Mildew, which is a fun lofi project where I experiment with a lot of fun wacky sounds.

K: Very cool. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Marvin: I’d just like to add that my upcoming album Surgery will be released soon and that I’m super excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on! 


Music Links:

MOTHH Bandcamp | MOTHH Spotify


KATE WATANABE | White Face, Black Eyes | KXSU Music Reporter


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